Michael Lacey is the founder at the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund. He grew up in Newark, New Jersey and was the son of a construction worker. In the late 1960’s he moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University. He dropped out when he and a group of students published the first issue of Phoenix New Times.
The local media’s coverage of the campus’s antiwar protests were very ultra-conservative and the issue of the Phoenix New Times was a response to that. The free weekly newspaper continued and covered a plethora of political and social issues that received a positive response from readers.
Michael Lacey was executive editor and Jim Larkin (his business partner) was head of the advertising for the paper. More success was leading Lacey’s way because the New Times purchased Westword, Denver’s news and arts weekly in 1983. From that they purchased 17 like-minded newspapers like the Village Voice in New York City, Miami New Times, and LA Weekly.
All of it came to a head twenty four year later when Lacey and Larkin were arrested in their homes on October 18, 2007. They had just revealed in the Phoenix New Times that grand jury targeted by ordering readers, writers, and editors by law to reveal information. Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona instigated and executed the arrest. He is an outspoken advocate about being anti-immigrant.
Locals were not having it and the charges were dropped within 24 hours. They found out later the warrants were fake, made up by a angry and vengeful prosecutor. Lacey and Larkin took them to court and they won.
Maricopa County had to pay $3.75 million to Lacey and Larkin for wrongful arrest in 2013. Instead of keeping the money for themselves they used it to start the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey
It distributes the proceeds to Latin-American groups in Arizona. The group of newspapers became known as Village Voice Media Holdings and was seen as a credible source of information and coverage of local events.
They later sold it to company executives in 2012. The chain of weekly newspapers received 9 millions print readers every week and 56 million online monthly readers. Being as well written and researched, it won countless awards for journalism and what not.
It even received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. The chain continues to inspire, educate, and draw in people who are wanting to learn more about what’s going on in the world today.